Bucks take 2-1 lead over Raptors
- Author: Megan Austin Apr 22, 2017,
Apr 22, 2017, 1:50
The Cavaliers will try to sweep the series Sunday. They gritted out wins against an All-NBA talent in Paul George, a Hall of Famer in Dwyane Wade. Snell was excellent again, hitting 4 threes and guarding DeRozan well, while Middleton added 20 points and 5 rebounds.
Cleveland trailed by 26 in the first half and was still down 74-49 at halftime. Over the last 10 games, the Bucks average 95.4 points and give up 99.0 per game.
The Raps didn't reach the 50-point mark until 10:42 of the fourth quarter.
James now has 5,669 points, 29 ahead of Bryant. By mid-way through the second quarter, Ibaka was using unnecessary elbows on box-outs of Antetokounmpo, in a thinly veiled attempt to redirect the game's emotional energy.
As bad as it got though, there was plenty of evidence that the Raptors didn't just quit.
Game 3 will go down as the massacre in Milwaukee.
Afterward, typically understated head coach Jason Kidd said he couldn't take credit for the Bucks' comprehensive display, praising their defensive effort and how they shared the ball on offense.
The Bucks led 32-12 after the first quarter and piled on to win 104-77. "I felt a lot better in the second half", Ibaka said. The Pacers drew two defensive three-second calls in the first half. The Raptors shot 22 percent and were almost outscored single-handedly by Antetokounmpo, who had 10 in the opening quarter including a pair of 3-pointers as the Bucks jumped out to a 32-12 lead.
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"It was big from the first play", All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo said about the home-court environment. Game 4 is set for Saturday at 2 p.m.at the BMO Harris Bradley Center and should be much more competitive.
With raucous fans wearing black Bucks giveaway T-shirts to match the players' uniforms, Milwaukee put on a dominating display of basketball worthy of the team's "Fear the Deer" slogan.
Lowry responded with 22 points and scored the clinching basket, a step-back jumper with 8.9sec left to increase the lead to four, as the Raptors defeated the Bucks 106-100. He made a total of zero of them, finishing the game with just eight points (a ideal 8-for-8 from the free-throw line).
Whether Thursday was a night you want to just pretend never happened - to forget and regroup heading into Saturday's Game 4 - or a loud and clear message that the Raptors are in serious trouble this series remains to be seen.
This night belonged to Milwaukee. The only thing I can come up with is that Kidd wanted an extra ball handler on the floor in Delly, who is also known for his pestering defense on opposing point guards. I understand the threat of playing Telly, who can get hot at any moment, but Beas poses a better all-around scoring threat with the strength to body up the Raptors bigs on both ends of the floor.
The Raptors had brief stretches of better defence in the third, but it still wasn't almost enough and they went into the fourth quarter trailing 78-48. They're sending two guys at me every time I come off a screen.
Khris Middleton added 20 points to take the series lead two games to one. His defense on Paul George last playoffs was a huge reason why the Raptors won that series.
It's a message the rest of the league should take seriously because, Thursday night in Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo and company showed the whole world the best version of the Bucks - a team that's more than just young, fun and exciting - is a team that's capable of demolishing anyone in the league on any given night.
It was Toronto's lowest playoff score since the Raptors scored 63 in Detroit in 2002. With no paint presence and simply unable to find their three-point game at all to make up for that huge deficit inside, there was no coming back from the early deficit.